When I was a little girl – prior to kindergarten- my Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls were my security companions. They went with me everywhere. Then one day, after running various errands with Mom, I realized one was missing.
Mom called all of the businesses we’d patronized, including a grocery store at a neighboring town and our local bank. None of them had a Raggedy Andy turned in to lost and found.
It’s the first time I remember seeing Mom mad. Not at me. Not once did she give me a hard time for losing him. She was mad that someone would pick up a child’s toy and not turn it in to be reclaimed.
I wasn’t devastated, but I was sad, because Raggedy Ann’s friend was gone. Because I liked holding her, but she didn’t fill my arms the way two dolls did. Because I understood I’d never see Andy again.
Then this morning happened.
Mark, Miller, and I went to Cracker Barrel for comfort food. We took Miller – now about the same age as I was when I lost Raggedy Andy – to the toy section while awaiting our table. That’s when I spotted Raggedy Ann and Andy.
I scooped those baby dolls up in my arms and felt a specific childhood happiness that had been dormant for nearly thirty years.
I didn’t know that feeling remained in me. I also didn’t understand until now how much it meant to hear my mom advocate for me as a small child.
The day Raggedy Andy disappeared, I grew up a little bit. Today, I grew up a little bit as a parent.
Because of that loss, I am reminded of what good parenting felt like as a small child.
And, thanks to the reunion, I’ve gained an even greater appreciation for my mom.